A lawyer by profession, Renata Avila Pinto brings us the voices of bloggers from Guatemala on Global Voices Online.
As a lawyer, Renata specialises in Human Rights, International Criminal, International Private, and Copyright laws. The Creative Commons Project Lead in Guatemala, she also completed research last year for the Open Net Initiative, covering some Latin American countries.
In this interview, the lawyer-cum-blogger opens her heart to us, speaking about her voyage with blogging, what issues matter to her the most, her likes and dislikes and her hopes for the future.
How long have you been blogging?
I have been blogging for almost three years. I started when I was studying in Italy, when a friend from Egypt told me on the first week that blogging was a great way to stay in touch with friends, family and to share my experiences with others. He helped me to fix my blog, and he started a blog with all the details of our experience in a classroom full of people from different countries, while I was blogging about my daily life, my discoveries and
experiences in a city of Italy that is far from the guidebooks, or the stories about pizza, pasta and Romeos.
Also, one of my classmates, Ale, was a famous blogger, recognized by the street art movement in Milano, and blogs were one of the topics discussed when I took copyright, as part of my studies for my Masters in International Intellectual Property.
For me, my blog is a window…
It is a different experience when you write in a notebook, and it remains in your closet or hidden somewhere. You let a window open to your life and then you can have all kinds of visitors. A fly, fresh breeze, smoke, sunshine, rain, music. All the visitors to your blog leave a different atmosphere on the blogair. You just have to open a window. To start a blog. And there, inside, you can share with them your space, a space inside your deepest thoughts and concerns, your views, the unique part of knowledge, experiences and even mood swings that can only be viewed with your eyes.
Which language do you blog in?
Mostly Spanish, sometimes I post in English or share some things in French. Soon, will start blogging (or try to) simple phrases in each language of Guatemala.
How many languages do you speak?
Spanish, English, and some German and Italian. Shame on me that I cannot speak any native language, but I am trying to learn some Cakchiquel. For example, kí means sweet, Juyú´means mountain.
Can you tell about your educational background?
Master of Laws (LL.M.) in Intellectual Property, some studies in Digital Rights, antitrust law, Human Rights and International Private Law. Currently, I am studying Internet Governance.
How long have you been a member of GVO and why?
For more than a year. Why I am a member? Is a difficult question, honestly, I think I was really lucky to be accepted as part of the GVO team. Perhaps it is because of my shared views with GVO purposes, being part of such amazing work of putting together the views of different cultures and sharing it, finding different answers to daily life questions, such as how do they look like, their real practices, their views of the world and other, and how they deal with conflicts and complicated situations. The others is a subject that obsessed me recently, discovering new worlds in my daily life, seeing the invisible people, the people here, in a small country of 12 million people, and everywhere. Diversity, the treasure inside each and every human being, the learning experience.
What are the main issues effecting your blogospheres?
Politics, economics, technology, sports, arts and literature but often bloggers are likely to blog what interests them the most: themselves. However, some smart blogers facilitate the dialogue. So, sometimes a blogger community is more active on the “conversation” than the creation of stories.
What is your most memorable blogging experience?
It was when I first saw my translated posts in different languages, thanks to the Lingua
Project. I was amazed! Chinese!!!!! Oriental characters with Guatemalan views! Might add also that even the Vice Minister of foreign affairs commented on one of my posts. And also, I have a fresh memory, that I will like to share with the GV community: Recently a teacher, Guillermo, working with indigenous children in one of the communities more damaged by the armed conflict, was under threat. Someone shot at his door – six bullets were found. I had to react and ask for support for him and his family. And blogs were my best way to bring attention to the incident. I remembered that he has a blog for the school he directs, and also several members of the community are bloggers as well. So, even when the village is isolated, and he is not a famous leader, I was able to send the links featuring his podcast, the blog of his organization and many blogs of the communities and the massacres. It is more efficient to increase the awareness of people who work on it, to sympathize with a cause, to say something about it. To give people like him visibility.
Staring at the sky, smiling back to strangers, airports, postcards, girl talks, coffee, watch people from everywhere, read books, and travel as much as I can. Well, to read a book is like taking a trip. Discovering best kept secrets in the corners. Old pictures. Creative Commons. Literature and philosophy. Robert Capa. Metissage. Imagination.
Attitudes that harm others, lack of authenticity, lack of content. Wilful ignorance. Fake smiles. Fake tears. Yellow press. Attitudes in my country in dividing people by ethnicity, class, color, etc, instead of learning from the differences. Secrets. My hair. And his girlfriend. To dance.
And your wishes?
Don't miss the moment. One of my favorite books is Momo, by Michael Ende. And Momo, the main character said that there are certain junctions, unique moments when everyone and everything combine to bring about something that could not have happened before and will never happen again. She said that you should take advantage of it, because if you do so, great things will happen in the world. I believe Momo. I am a believer that I will not miss the moment. I really hope so.